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Need help. Cat climbing around on monoflow loops. Please advise.

SuperTechSuperTech Posts: 938Member
This past fall I completed insulation of all the exposed pipes for my two pipe diverter tee/monoflow systems and the near boiler piping.

Last night I was in my basement checking my boiler because I'm OCD about it my large Maine Coon cat jumped out of the ceiling of the finished room next to me and scared the hell out of me. I was sitting there checking how many ohms my cad cell was reading when it happened.

Since insulating the pipes the cat treats it like a jungle gym. It's disturbing to anyone upstairs and downstairs because he can be heard in both areas.

I was considering switching off outdoor reset and jacking up the high limit on my aquastat, but it's an indoor cat with tender paws and my girlfriend would kill me if he was injured.

Has anyone else had their near boiler piping or monoflow systems misused and abused by a feline? I need an inexpensive solution to get me by until I can modify my boiler so I am pumping away, when I do that I should be able make it cat proof.

Comments

  • BobCBobC Posts: 4,956Member
    Many years ago we had a big old neighborhood stray. One night It felt cool in the dining room so I went downstairs to look at the boiler.

    I looked at the sight glass and the water level looked fine, as my eyes traveled up this old boiler I was staring into the green eyes of a 20 pound tom (I told you he was big) who was laying on top of that Delco 4 section boiler. i went down to the back of the cellar and found he had pushed out the top half of a cracked cellar window pane and that was why the dining room floor was cold. I gave him some food and left him there.

    I put a flap on that window so he could come and go ; the cat would sleep on top of that old boiler when it was really cold out but he preferred to be outside. He lasted a few more years before getting badly mauled by something,

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • the_donutthe_donut Posts: 374Member
    Spray some citrus or other cat repellant on the insulation. Or train the cat with a squirt gun.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,727Member
    A spray bottle filled with ammonia or a .22 short. I am allergic to cats and dogs.
  • SuperTechSuperTech Posts: 938Member
    I've tried spraying him with with water and he just looks at me like "what, are you stupid?" He's not afraid of water and is the only cat I've ever seen put up with being given a bath.

    He's a big Tom cat, easily 20 pounds, that doesn't sleep on the boiler, but he likes hanging out on the 1-1/4" supply pipes.

    Sometimes I worry about such a large cat climbing around the pipes. I'm glad all the tees are brass, makes me feel better about the solder joints for some reason. I don't think shark bite fittings would hold up to the weight.

    Has anyone else had this happen?
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,861Member
    Cat-apult. Or, maybe those things they use down the shore (spikes) to keep birds off of wires and eaves.
    steve
  • FranklinDFranklinD Posts: 398Member
    I’m embarrassed to say this (really, I am) but we had a similar, though not identical, issue with a neighbors cat getting in somewhere he shouldn’t have been.

    We tried citrus and pigeon spikes and a few other things before trying my son’s.......sigh.......motion-activated fart machine. It’s loud and triggers when the “ahem” target is about 24” away. It scared the bejeezus out of that cat. 2 or 3 times (that we heard) and he never returned.

    And yes, I later tried it with the pigeons that camp out under our eave....they got used to it quickly. Dang. Enjoyed the odd looks from the neighbors, though
    Ford Master Technician, "Tinkerer of Terror"
    Police & Fire Equipment Lead Mechanic, NW WI
    Lover of Old Homes & Gravity Hot Water Systems
  • SuperTechSuperTech Posts: 938Member
    I'm going to have to look into this fart machine. I'm considering all options that do not include harming the cat or boiler.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,401Member
    Better he should be on the outside of the pipes than inside the air ducts of a gravity hot air furnace like one I had to deal with some years back. That was not an easy job...

    There are a number of gadgets which are alleged to repel animals with high frequency sound. Some of them even work. You could try that...

    Or just enjoy the gymnastics. He's not likely to hurt anything. I love Maine Coons, by the way -- they are just fun cats.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 828Member
    edited February 2018
    Spray hot pepper wax on the pipe ??? Cat's won't like it when he licks his paws, like us chopping up a hot pepper, then touching the wife.

    Home Depot,,,,, mix it with water and spray my fruit trees. It's Capsaicin based so I think not-toxic. You know, the stuff that makes habanero and ghost chile peppers HOT.
    -------------------------------
    For our outdoor cats I built an heated cat house for them outside. Used old 400 watt 120 V water bed heating pad BUT run on only ~ 24 Volt, with isolation transformer , so only made 20-40 watts . I put it on ceiling and sides of Styrofoam box and covered it with sheet metal so cat couldn't claw thru to wires. Didn't cost much electricity.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,727Member
    We used mothballs to keep critters out of the garden
  • SuperTechSuperTech Posts: 938Member
    The capsaicin might not work, I'm not sure if the cat would make the connection between the pipes and spicy paws. And moth balls don't bother him at all.

    Maine Coon cats are cool, definitely not your average cat. He's the only cat I've ever seen play fetch. He will fetch a rubber ball if you keep throwing it for hours.

    I thought it was funny the first time I saw him climb up onto the boiler piping. Now it's becoming his favorite hangout. The insulation is starting to torn up.
  • kevinj_4kevinj_4 Posts: 80Member
    Maybe put some PVC jacket on it???
  • SuperTechSuperTech Posts: 938Member
    Ha! Great idea! It might look stupid, but it would work. Thank you kevinj!
  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 828Member
    edited February 2018
    Seal off the openings to ceiling......

    Cat will eventually learn the pipes are the hot pepper problem.
    Didn't take me long to figure out the isopropyl alchohol I cleaned my glasses with made my fingers bitter, (after it dried).
  • ratioratio Posts: 1,962Member
    I'm not sure the PVC jacket would last under aminal claws, but they make an aluminum jacket too. I'm sure that'd last.
  • SuperTechSuperTech Posts: 938Member
    I was thinking about cutting up some schedule 40 pipe and putting it over the pipes. I think it would be slippery enough that my cat won't be able to hold on to it.

    He's up on the supply main right now. Mocking me.
  • Larry WeingartenLarry Weingarten Posts: 1,485Member
    Hello, Cats know that we humans exist to serve them. Maybe you should just build a nice little kitty ladder for the Cat to climb up and down on, so he doesn't damage the insulation. Clearly he likes the view from up there. :D

    Yours, Larry
  • SuperTechSuperTech Posts: 938Member
    He doesn't need a kitty ladder. The near boiler piping is more than adequate for him to get up there. I could live with him getting up there, but I don't care for him crawling around in between the ceiling and the floor. For such a large cat he sure likes to get in tight spots.
  • kevinj_4kevinj_4 Posts: 80Member
    ratio said:

    I'm not sure the PVC jacket would last under aminal claws, but they make an aluminum jacket too. I'm sure that'd last.

    I was thinking once the cat slid off a time or two he would learn.
    That PVC jacket is pretty tough, not sure an indoor cat with clipped nail could grab it.

  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 828Member
    edited February 2018
    Cats like investigating tight places. In a large apt complex after remodeling they left a 1 ft hole in drywall for kitchen plumbing to pass thru. When wind blew draft was so bad spring loaded cabinet door would open 4 inches and cat went in to investigate. He wanted to got into the wall. But I managed to call him back before he got far. It was a double wall for the 4" sewer pipe and with a light I could see down from our 3-rd floor to the ground level....... no fire stopping. Figured if cat fell in he'ld never get out.
  • BobCBobC Posts: 4,956Member
    The send year i owned this house I started redoing the kitchen, it was a complete gut job. I got te point that verything was closed back in but a small closet that still needed wals and ceilings sheet rocked.
    One night I sitting in the living room and I heard a noise that was coming from the ceiling, the young cat was up there knocking something around, about 20 minutes later i heard meowing and traced it to the ceailing. She hd gone down a wall cavity (balloon framing) and emerged in the cellar.
    that closet got finished the next day.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 828Member
    edited March 2018
    You occasionally read in the paper about people having to tear walls apart to rescue kittens and cats that get stuck and start meowing.

    Think it was England , they had to rip open a bricked wall.
  • SuperTechSuperTech Posts: 938Member
    I tried putting some PVC over the pipes, hoping my cat wouldn't be able to get any grip on them. But my efforts were in vain.
    The cat jumped up on the monoflow loop, sniffed the PVC for a second and looked at me like I'm stupid. Then he proceeded to crawl into the space between the ceiling and floor. Ugh!
  • kevinj_4kevinj_4 Posts: 80Member
    I head them there Maine cats are resourceful!!
    My farm cat don't like slippery surfaces.
  • FinishGuyFinishGuy Posts: 31Member
    Our Maine Coon has been walking the steam main for years now. He knows too hot from comfortable without any training on my part. The hangers I installed must miff him now. (Please don’t freak out. It’s very asbestos free, ie. job well done.)

    Mind you, this is the third maine coon to live here with us. Come each spring he awakens with the bird chorus at 4:30 AM hungry, just like the other two would. I can sleep thru the birds but not a swat or two to the head.

    I tried more than a few methods to stop the early morning wake-up call with the first one before a fellow cat owner gave me a tip about a deterrent/training technique that finally worked for me. Turns out to be effective against other unwanted behaviors as well.

    This miracle device is nothing more than a few nickels in an empty soda can. Stash some around the house. Keep one next to your pillow like me! Shake the beejeezus out of it when provoked and watch your cat bolt. Three or four rounds of reinforcement and my cats have often been trained. For awhile.

    No guarantees: cats are individualists, right? But it has worked for me with the annoying, destructive, or dangerous behaviors cats sometimes engage in. With the caveat that they will try it again in a few weeks or months (or next year when the birds arrive to mate again) just to see if you are paying attention, right?

    Having said that, I can appreciate the difficulty of trying to keep a cat from doing something unbeknownst by the owner using the noisy can startle method. I like the idea suggested here of using a device activated by the cat’s own attempt to misbehave. I also love tinkering with electronics.

    The inexpensive triggered novelty devices I have (all Halloween related) use sound activation - I’m not sure a cat landing on top off a wall or climbing a pipe would set them off. Worth a try though. The idea of one of my plastic skeleton cats clacking it’s jaws and howling pitifully to scare a living cat cracks me up.

    The motion activated devices are based on a PIR detector, like those used in home security setups, and are quite a bit more expensive. They also take a bit of time to respond, which might not work with a quick cat. Opaque tape can be used to narrow the sensor’s window and filter out other changing heat sources, like a nearby atmospheric boiler’s vent. Or trigger for just the ToT (trick-or-treater) who is standing right in front of my scare.

    If the cat were landing in the same spot each time to get where it wanted to go a step mat trigger might work. They come in different sizes and are passive contact closure switches. Most novelty devices have a temporary ‘try me’ button. There are many online guides to modifying these buttons to use other, more crafty triggers. I have yet to try this myself but with some smarts and guidance it seems feasible.

    Good luck!
    1916 two-family, now condo. Top floor. 970 sq. ft. of ‘well ventilated’ space. One-pipe, parallel flow, gas fired steam heat. 27’ of 2” main (un-insulated) vented via Gorton #2. 27’ 1 1/2” dry return (un-insulated) vented by Dole #5. 7 HB Smith Princess 2 col. radiators (38” tall) & 1 ARCo 30s era thin-tube 6 x 8 sec. (32” tall) = total radiator EDR 244. Using Maid-o-Mist radiator vents, sized by calc. & 14 winters tinkering. 1980 HB Smith G210-S-5 rated output 120,000 btu, poor near boiler piping.
  • SuperTechSuperTech Posts: 938Member
    I like this idea! My Maine coon also likes to wake me up in the morning to be fed. Sometimes he will jump up on the bed and just sit there and stare at me, waiting for signs that I am awake. Other times he will meow and wake me up on his own. It doesn't bother me, I look forward to breakfast too! I'm going to try the nickels in a can trick. It certainly couldn't hurt anything.
  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 828Member
    edited March 2018
    I wonder if sticky tape on the pipes would deter the cat.

    Wife's cat would signal her he wanted breakfast.......at dawn ...... by lightly putting teeth on her hand. Then if you weren't awake yet , bit harder till you were. Left dents, but never broke skin.

    Another morning I was in a tall bed , 1/2 awake, the cat leapt off floor, landed on side of me instead of the bed. And like a startled horse I quickly instinctively flung him off with my hand before I even knew I did it. Then I went and comforted him. From then on every time he crawled up the end table to get in bed he would stare at me almost in fear and SLOWLY crawl up. But he was still a very lovey cat with me otherwise.
  • fixitguyfixitguy Posts: 79Member
    We have a heated cat bed for our Main Coon, available from amazon. Half the time we don't even plug it in.
  • the_donutthe_donut Posts: 374Member
    It’s time to pull out the cayenne.
  • SuperTechSuperTech Posts: 938Member
    I think I'm on my way to having half the problem solved. I've gotten creative and started stuffing random boxes, power tools, whatever I can place in between the beams above the supply and return loops. The cat still likes to get up on the main and enjoy the warmth of the pipes.

    Perhaps I shouldn't fight it at this point. He can't get into the space between the ceiling and floor anymore. Maybe when I upgrade the near boiler piping I should create a hydronicly heated cat bed. I can do it right by the window he likes to look out....
  • FinishGuyFinishGuy Posts: 31Member
    edited March 2018
    After the second Coon cat passed, the third grew lonely. Rather than getting another cat, the spouse decided on a dog. Actually, the neighbors came home with a puppy and I mistakenly told her about it. An hour later a down payment was made on a pup - same breed, same breeder. Talk about changing your life out of blue.

    Our mini Australia Shepherd turned to be an excellent addition to the household. At 16 months full grown he outweighs the Maine Coon by 3 lbs. and is 1” taller at the spine. He’s actually a mini mini. I believe bringing him into the house as a puppy was key to the cat accepting him. The cat knows he has the upper paw when the roughhousing gets intense. Funny is the running hip check the dog gives the cat that tumbles it over. Aussie’s have a bundle of energy and the cat has lost a pound. Jumps better too!

    So if you have a overweight cat and really want a dog... awesome dog. Loving smart intelligent companion who needs at least 90 of hard play a day. Serious working breed.

    To tie steam heat back into this, my ridiculously piped boiler makes my radiators sound like tea kettles on occasion somewhat randomly about the house. Perplexes the dog to no end.
    1916 two-family, now condo. Top floor. 970 sq. ft. of ‘well ventilated’ space. One-pipe, parallel flow, gas fired steam heat. 27’ of 2” main (un-insulated) vented via Gorton #2. 27’ 1 1/2” dry return (un-insulated) vented by Dole #5. 7 HB Smith Princess 2 col. radiators (38” tall) & 1 ARCo 30s era thin-tube 6 x 8 sec. (32” tall) = total radiator EDR 244. Using Maid-o-Mist radiator vents, sized by calc. & 14 winters tinkering. 1980 HB Smith G210-S-5 rated output 120,000 btu, poor near boiler piping.
  • FinishGuyFinishGuy Posts: 31Member
    The boys lounging by a 30’s era ARCo. in the kitchen.


    1916 two-family, now condo. Top floor. 970 sq. ft. of ‘well ventilated’ space. One-pipe, parallel flow, gas fired steam heat. 27’ of 2” main (un-insulated) vented via Gorton #2. 27’ 1 1/2” dry return (un-insulated) vented by Dole #5. 7 HB Smith Princess 2 col. radiators (38” tall) & 1 ARCo 30s era thin-tube 6 x 8 sec. (32” tall) = total radiator EDR 244. Using Maid-o-Mist radiator vents, sized by calc. & 14 winters tinkering. 1980 HB Smith G210-S-5 rated output 120,000 btu, poor near boiler piping.
  • D107D107 Posts: 1,511Member
    Ditto on the cayenne. Our cats liked to chew on the toilet supply flex cable until I rubbed some cayenne powder all over it--haven't touched it in the three years since.
  • SuperTechSuperTech Posts: 938Member
    That's a fine looking Maine coon FinishGuy. My cat is very aggressive towards dogs. The first time my dad bought over his dog (the biggest cocker spaniel I have ever seen) my cat ran right at him at tried to claw his eyes out! The dog I'd terrified of him. My cat has tried the same thing with a neighbor's dog, a border collie. He's more brave than smart.
  • FinishGuyFinishGuy Posts: 31Member
    Wish I had a photo of them sleeping side by side in front of the dining room radiator.

    Oscar the Maine Coon was playing stalk and attack with Bailey the mini Aussie this morning. Chased each other around the house for half an hour. Laughter on a Sunday morning is wonderful.


    1916 two-family, now condo. Top floor. 970 sq. ft. of ‘well ventilated’ space. One-pipe, parallel flow, gas fired steam heat. 27’ of 2” main (un-insulated) vented via Gorton #2. 27’ 1 1/2” dry return (un-insulated) vented by Dole #5. 7 HB Smith Princess 2 col. radiators (38” tall) & 1 ARCo 30s era thin-tube 6 x 8 sec. (32” tall) = total radiator EDR 244. Using Maid-o-Mist radiator vents, sized by calc. & 14 winters tinkering. 1980 HB Smith G210-S-5 rated output 120,000 btu, poor near boiler piping.
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